SAN DIEGO — Raisel Iglesias of the Cincinnati Reds had just given up a tying, three-run home run to Matt Kemp in the first inning when the rookie walked Justin Upton.
Pitching coach Jeff Pico and catcher Brayan Pena went out to the mound to try to calm Iglesias.
It worked. Upton broke early on a steal attempt, and Iglesias stepped off and easily threw him out.
Iglesias cruised from there, finishing six strong innings as the Reds beat the San Diego Padres 7-3 on Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.
"That really helped settle that environment down, and from that point on, I mean, he was unflappable," manager Bryan Price said of the pickoff play.
"It was one of those defining moments in the first inning, he worked his way through it and gave us five scoreless afterward and the opportunity to get back and take the lead and then hold it with the bullpen."
Joey Votto scored the go-ahead run on a balk by James Shields and later hit a two-run homer.
Iglesias (3-4) retired his final 16 batters. He allowed three runs and six hits while striking out eight and walking one. He had lost four of his previous five decisions.
"After I gave up that home run I actually got really disappointed with myself and I lost control of my emotions," he said through an interpreter. "I cannot explain how bad I was. Pena came in, the pitching coach came in, and they both started to tell me, 'Hey, calm down and don't let emotions come in and start to screw up your game. Concentrate, do what you have to do,' and you saw what happened."
Said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy: "This kid's got a ways to go but from what I saw, wow, he was impressive after that first inning. Matty made him pay."
Votto hit his 20th homer off Frank Garces with one out in the ninth. Votto had three hits and drove in three runs.
Shields (8-5), who signed a $75 million, four-year contract as a free agent in February, has just one win in his last 13 starts.
With the game tied at 3 and one out in the third, Shields allowed a one-out single by Votto followed by a double by Todd Frazier that moved Votto to third. The next at-bat, it appeared Shields faked a pickoff throw to third and was called for a balk, allowing Votto to score the go-ahead run. It turned out that third baseman Yangervis Solarte missed a sign and was playing back, so Shields didn't make the throw.
After walking the bases loaded and then getting out of the inning, Shields glared at plate umpire Gerry Davis as he walked to the dugout. He then raised both arms in a gesture to someone in the dugout.
"Votto wasn't really paying attention over there and I felt like in that situation we had him and now we got two outs," Shields said.
"He thought Soly had the sign and obviously that didn't happen," Murphy said.
"You give up a bunch of hits and that happens," Shields said. "Mental mistakes just can't happen. We've got to clean that up. I mean those are the things we can control on our side and we definitely have to clean that up."
Shields allowed five runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out seven and walking four. He left after loading the bases in the seventh. Shawn Kelley came on and allowed a sacrifice fly to Frazier.
The Padres were trying for just their second three-game sweep of the season. It was San Diego's seventh loss in nine games.
Shields fell behind 3-0 in the first, when four of the first five Reds batters reached base. Votto hit an RBI single and Jay Bruce hit a two-run triple off the top of the center field fence.
Kemp tied it in the bottom of the inning with his three-run homer to left, his 12th. Leadoff batter Solarte reached when he was hit in the ribs by a pitch and Yonder Alonso followed with a single to left before Kemp's homer.
Reds: Cincinnati heads up the freeway for a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers starting Thursday night when RHP Keyvius Sampson (1-1, 3.00 ERA) is scheduled to start against Mat Latos (4-8, 4.67).
Padres: San Diego is off Thursday before beginning a three-game road trip at Colorado on Friday. RHP Tyson Ross (8-9, 3.39) is scheduled to start opposite LHP Yohan Flande (2-1, 3.86).